Tag: creative process

Absence & Presence

‘I have this feeling of not being able to produce an image strong enough to express an idea in a simple and synthesized way’

This is a quote from an Italian friend’s email to me when we were talking about making prints for Absence & Presence, beautifully elucidated in a language that is not her first.
Perhaps because the project is of such a serious nature, I have found myself hesitant around making work for this print project.  Nothing has been ‘it’ yet. . .

I thought it would be useful to write some thoughts down: a process I often call on to move things to the next stage, and share
them with a view to acknowledging the universality of what we (may) have in common with each other around the creative process.

On reflection, I had the same frozen reaction to making the broadsides for that first foray into al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here;
voicing my lack of confidence in realising the subject in an appropriate manner, my buddy Angie B acknowledged a similar response,
and so we worked on it together.

Later, with the artists’ books part of the project I recall having to be patient and leave the ideas simmering ‘on the long finger’
(as we say in Ireland) until they became clear, and revealed themselves in form.

So, recognising the familiar realms I can allow the mystery of manifesting some space to continue its delicate dance – allowing it
to follow its course and bear fruit, whilst still facing the subject head-on, with unwavering gaze. It is though as if one of my eyes
is closed and the other open.

We are of course not alone in this quandary, and perhaps it is good to recognise that whatever our individual experiences
are of Absence and Presence, there is no need to feel ‘less than’ in our qualifications for the job in hand – it is to some degree
a reflection of our integrity that we go through these machinations before manifesting something we feel is worthy.

I am always amazed and impressed by the enormous diversity of work made by the poets, printers, bookmakers et al who
participate in al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.
Long may it be so; let us honour that we are each component yet equal parts of this body of people.


‘All happiness depends on courage and work.’ Honore de Balzac